Cricket out from Asiad

Agence France Presse

New Delhi, February 12:

The likely absence of top stars like Sachin Tendulkar of India and Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan has forced cricket out of the Asian Games in Qatar next year, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) had not committed the top players for the December 1-15 Games, council secretary general Randhir Singh said here.

“The ACC said it planned to field under-19 or junior teams for the Games which was not acceptable to us,” Singh said. “We in the OCA are firmly of the view that only top teams should take part in the Asian Games and so we have decided drop the sport altogether.”

Singh, a member of the IOC and secretary of the Indian Olympic Association, said the decision to omit cricket was taken at the OCA’s executive council meeting held in Kuwait on February 5. The OCA had last year suggested the inclusion of limited-overs cricket for the first time at the Asian Games in keeping with the sport’s large following in the continent.